Congratulations to the ladies behind SistaFood for the success of their first ever food blog outing! It was also the first time that I've attended a food bloggers' dinner, and I must say the experience was amazing. To be in the company of people who enjoy food and have the passion to blog about their food adventures is an honor really, and to have at least six cameras snapping away once a dish arrives is a sight to behold. Also in attendance for the tasting session was Brad (LadyIronChef) and Justin (J2K3Blogs), and together with friends, loved ones and family, we waited in all eagerness to see what Chef Kelvin had in store for us. Enjoy :)
Oliv Crab Cake Dip Cheese Sauce
The Oliv crab cake is not in the menu (yet) and it is one of the appetisers that Chef Kelvin is experimenting with. It's a deep-fried blend of crab meat, minced pork belly, herbs and spices, and is served with a cheese dip. I didnt' get a taste of this, but comments around the table was that it was a little too salty for their liking. Still, this has promise with the mix of spices.
Flame Garlic Escargot on Spoon
The last time I ate this at Au Petit Salut, I didn't like this very much. I suppose it's an acquired taste. Somehow I was able to take to the ones here from Oliv, which I figured was because of the garlic and butter that managed to mask the sliminess a little. And oh, there was wine added to it as well. Talk about an aphrodisiac man ;)
Hokkiado Scallop with Asparagus
The pan-fried Hokkaido scallops was one of the favourites of the night. It was simple, but boy was it fresh and juicy. This is going to be up on the menu very soon and I think diners will surely enjoy it as an appetiser.
Mini Cod Burger
The mini cod burger was well, mini, and for a while I was still trying to eat it with a fork and knife until I was persuaded by the rest to grab it with my hands instead haha. I've to admit I'm not one who fancies fish burgers (gimme my beef beef beef!) very much, and this doesn't change my preference at all. But then taste is subjective (as we food bloggers will keep reminding you again and again), and I did see a few people enjoy their little burgers. As Justin noted diligently from Chef Kelvin, the slices of fresh cod fish were "marinated for slightly over an hour in a heavy teriyaki sauce and then later broiled to perfection". Add in a couple of Shitake mushrooms and salad and voila - your mini cod burger.
An odd addition to the night surely, even more so when this was served alongside chopsticks. Just like the crab cakes, I was just about to take a bit of this when I was told it contains pork. Darn. But lucky me, I heard it was the saltiest dish of the night. Hahaha. Chef Kelvin, please go easy on the salt!
Angus Beef Mushroom Kebab
For the carnivore in me, this was undoubtedly the best dish of the night. The beef was oh so tender and such a joy to chew on, and the well-grilled mushrooms were equally tasty. To top it off, the delicious mushroom brown sauce was sweet, with a tinge of spiciness. If I could, I would have asked for more!
Bacon Infused Risotto Rice Ball
While others had their rice balls wrapped with bacon, my "vegetarian" ones were wrapped with lettuce. To be frank, this does not come close to a risotto, which is meant to be more moist surely. Here the rice balls reminded me more of rice dumplings or lo mai gai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken) and like the crab dumplings, I found this to be a strange addition to the line-up.
Lamb Shank Meat Wrap
Everyone's favourite, and the close contender for top spot (I still love my Angus Beef!). The lamb shank was so soft and tender that Enlin, enjoying hers as well across me, couldn't put it any better - it melts in your mouth. This is already on the menu and is definitely one of Cafe Oliv's bestsellers. I can see why, and you've got to try it to love it.
We were all patting our tummies and commenting that we were full, but once these lovely brownies arrived, we started making excuses - hey, there's always room for desserts! This is the sisters' favourite dessert from Cafe Oliv and it was not surprising then to find it as a highlight end to a satisfying dinner. It was ordinary vanilla ice-cream yes, but rich, warm chocolate brownie and cool ice-cream is always a winner to me :)
This was an invited tasting session hosted by the ladies of SistaFood and Chef Kelvin. $25 for so much food did seem like a great treat to me though. In all, there were certainly a couple of hits and misses, but my top three would certainly be the Angus beef, the lamb shank and the Hokkaido scallops. Do check out their menu here, and don't be surprised that it's more affordable than you think. Go ahead, try it out, and tell me if the rest of the dishes are good too.
220 East Coast Road.